From the time I was pregnant with Addison & Mackenzie, I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about sleep habits. Schedule and routine were the key words of our first few months with the girls, and creating a healthy and manageable sleep routine was a priority from the very beginning.
I knew for certain that I wanted to teach the girls to go to sleep on their own. I would have to manage the bedtime routine by myself several nights a week, and I could not imagine trying to rock both girls to sleep every night and get them both in bed without waking either baby. So it was very important to me to make sure they could go to bed awake and fall asleep without me holding, rocking, or otherwise assisting in the process.
Not that it was due to anything we did necessarily (because I realize some kids are just naturally better sleepers than others!), but we have been VERY lucky in the sleep department, so I can at least pretend that some of that worrying, planning, and stressing about sleep paid off, right?
For almost as long as I can remember, our routine has been the same: dinner, bath, pajamas, then snuggling on the couch while reading books and/or watching part of a movie or tv show. At bedtime, I carry both girls (and only me...Jeremy is not allowed to do it if I'm home!) to their beds, usually singing a song along the way. I find all necessary blankets and stuffed animals, then turn out the lights and wish them both sweet dreams.
As the girls have grown, I have learned to savor the quiet moments of sitting down to read, sing, or just be together at night. Still, rocking has never been a part of that routine...
Until the last few weeks, that is.
I don't even remember now how it started, but sometime in the last month or so, Addison & Mackenzie started requesting that I rock them before bed. I enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of it for a couple of nights...then I started wondering what kind of new habits I might be encouraging. The next night, I tried to convince the girls to forget about the rocking, but naturally, they were having none of it. There were tears and pleas of "Rock me, mama!" that nearly broke my heart.
So, here we are, with a new nighttime routine. We follow the same general pattern, but the reading and singing is now done in the girls' room, with the three of us snuggled up in the rocking chair. I'm still working on the timing, since it takes a little longer to convince them to get in bed these days, but we will all adjust soon, I'm sure.
Back when the girls were tiny, it was hard to take full advantage of all the little baby-snuggling opportunities-- I was often too overwhelmed thinking about the next round of feeding and changing, or I was worried about creating bad habits by letting a baby sleep in my arms for too long. In hindsight, I realize how fleeting those days were, and that makes it even sweeter to be able to enjoy these new opportunities to rock my girls before bed.
I must admit I am kind of enjoying this little change in the normal routine...at least on the nights when we are able to wrap it all up before the unheard-of hour of 9:00. What happened to my girls that could barely hold their eyes open past 8:00??
Has your nighttime routine changed as your children have grown? And I'm curious...what time is bedtime for your kids?